[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 16:51 GMT
Blair cleared in Kelly probe
Tony Blair
Mr Blair says the findings leave "no room for doubt or interpretation"
Tony Blair has been cleared of any "dishonourable, underhand or duplicitous" conduct in the lead up to the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

Lord Hutton also concluded that the government had not "sexed up" intelligence on Iraq in the run-up to war. He said the allegation that government knew that the 45-minute claim was false - was ''unfounded''.

He also said that Mr Blair's government had no "underhand strategy" in naming Dr Kelly as the probable source for BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan's story.

The allegation that I or anyone else lied to this House or deliberately misled the country by falsifying intelligence on WMD is itself the real lie
Tony Blair

Lord Hutton said that Tony Blair had chaired a meeting at which it was decided to put out a public statement, a move which led to Dr Kelly's exposure.

It was decided to reveal that "a civil servant" had spoken to Mr Gilligan a week before the journalist's broadcast on the Today programme because of concerns the government would be charged with a cover-up if he did not.

Lord Hutton said a press release, which had been read out to and agreed to by Dr Kelly, had been issued in the "midst of a major controversy" where "very grave allegations against the integrity of the government" had been made.

Lord Hutton said the government's concern was well founded and that Mr Blair was not wrong to issue the statement.

Name revealed

A day later - on 9 June 2003 - the MoD press office employed a policy of confirming Dr Kelly's name to the press if a journalist suggested it.

Lord Hutton said the MoD was "at fault" in failing to tell Dr Kelly the press office was prepared to give out his name.

He was only warned an hour-and-a-half after his identity had been confirmed in a telephone call from his MoD line manager, Bryan Wells, which lasted just 46 seconds.

"It must have been a great shock and very upsetting for him to have been told in a brief telephone call from his line manager that the press office of his own department had confirmed his name to the press and must have given rise to a feeling that he had been badly let down by his employer," he said.

Full Report
(PDF file 2MB)

However Lord Hutton said it was reasonable for the government to take the view that Dr Kelly's name as Mr Gilligan's source was bound to become known to the public.

Speaking in the House of Commons after the report was published Mr Blair said Mr Hutton's findings left "no room for doubt or interpretation".

"The allegation that I or anyone else lied to this House or deliberately misled the country by falsifying intelligence on WMD is itself the real lie", he said.

"And I simply ask that those that made it and those who have repeated it over all these months now withdraw it, fully, openly and clearly."

Lord Hutton said he was satisfied that nobody involved in the matter could have foreseen that Dr Kelly would take his own life after he was named as Andrew Gilligan's anonymous source.

''Whatever pressures and strains Dr Kelly was subjected to by the decisions and actions taken in the weeks before his death, I am satisfied that no one realized or should have realized that those pressures and strains might lead him to take his own life.''

The only question mark Lord Hutton did raise was the possibility Mr Blair's desire to have a dossier "as strong as possible" in relation to Saddam's weapons of mass destruction may have "subconsciously influenced" those in charge of drawing it up.

But the law lord was satisfied that John Scarlett, Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, and his colleagues would still have been "concerned to ensure" the contents was consistent with the available intelligence.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific